Westcon Inc. has unveiled a marketing communications resource in hopes that it will help Canadian solution providers tackle a difficult marketplace head-on.

Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy, Westcon Canada’s general manager in Mississauga, Ont., told CDN one of the biggest challenges for resellers

today is differentiating themselves.

“From a Canadian perspective, we’re seeing that it has been a tough economy and some of the providers have held off growth or have actually had to reduce their force,” she said. “Some of them are operating with fewer resources than they had in the past. Some of them are ready to grow and expand but don’t necessarily have the resources at this point.”

A variety of marketing services are available through MarketVision to address resellers’ current marketing needs, including branding, e-marketing and Web design, advertising and direct mail, marketing collateral and presentations, as well as training services.

The firm’s whole philosophy, said Smurthwaite-Murphy, is to focus on what it says is its core of expertise: networking security and convergence.

“We can serve as the primary market support to a company that may have little or no marketing resources,” she said, adding that the distributor can also help augment a larger firm’s marketing department.

“We can help them with their overall look and feel, their overall branding — and that includes their strategy, their templates (and) their Web site . . . It can be a very small company, but we can help them look bigger than they are, if you will.”

In particular, packaged custom training courses have been a big help to solution providers who want to respond to requests for proposals, she said.

A reseller might also bundle a course on a technology so an end user can learn how to use it.

“[Resellers’] customers are looking for creativity,” she said. “We’re trying to help our resellers and our vendors develop new business opportunities. In some cases that involves offering seminars to an end user community on our technology or on a solution.”

Westcon also offers custom courses for some of its clients interested in getting into new technologies, she added.

“We want to understand their goals and business, so we can establish the most effective means of driving their business.”

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